Sunday, March 25, 2012

Once Upon a Time... (Part 2)

A year passed.

During that year, the scribe who still missed his former life in Tri-Metro, decided to embark upon a new project that would hearken back to the material he had written during his time at the place where they hide the books—a project that would again make use of his golden voice. Since his days in Tri-Metro, the scribe had been an ever-growing fan of a new and growing industry related to the Casting of Broad, but which was called the Casting of Pod. In this industry, no one had to join a town criers guild or find a criers station to cast, or ever play Rod Stewart again. Instead, one could “record” such cries from one’s own guest bedroom and make them available to the masses via the web of the whole wide world. It had become a daily ritual of the scribe to listen to the casts of such notable casters of pod as Saint Adam of the Carollas, among many others. Wishing to step into this new medium himself, the scribe bought some equipment and began adapting and recording some of the stories he’d written for Tales from the Place Where they Hide the Books. This new cast of pod he called the Tales from the Place Where they Hide the Bookscast. It soon had tens of listeners.

Meanwhile the goodly wife’s job in the Borderland Immediate Healing Clinic went fairly well during that time. In fact, the place was ridiculously busy, leading to many a late night as the healers had to stay and finish their charting on the many patients they’d seen that day. This led to many requests by the goodly wife that the place of healing hire other healers to lighten the load and decrease the late nights. It took months for this to happen, of course, with repeated promises that it would in the interim. And while it eventually did occur, it did not until the goodly wife had voiced another promise to seek employment elsewhere if the situation did not change. She had even located said employment in the form of a place of healing back in Tri-Metro. The scribe was actually overjoyed at this prospect, because it would mean a return to his favorite place. Then the goodly wife’s bosses listened to her promise and, perhaps because she was one of the more productive healers in their employ, they listened and hired help. It seemed the Tri-Metro return was not to be. In lamenting, this, however, the scribe at last was able to alert the goodly wife of his desire to one day return to Tri-Metro—which he thought she had known all along but which she claimed she did not. This in mind, though, when an opening occurred at the Tri-Metro Immediate Healing Clinic, the goodly wife let it be known to her middle-management that she wished to transfer into it.

One of the middle managers, let’s call her Tuesday (as in “See” You Next…), said that it would not be a problem to transfer. It would be a simple matter of scheduling the goodly wife to work in Tri-Metro and continue to do so afterward that. According to Tuesday, the position would not be open for at least three months, so it would take that long before the Goodly Wife could be transferred. This was all right, however, because a new castle would have to be found and the old one sold.

Soon enough, the pair began to travel to Tri-Metro to look at new castles. And because they loved their Borderland castle so much, they were very picky. There was no point in moving if they couldn’t have something at least approaching what they had in Borderland, which was just far enough outside of the city to feel remote and woodsy, yet still close enough to get high speed internet via the Link of Sudden. There were several castles in the land surrounding Tri-Metro that they liked well enough, and most fit their vision of what they wanted in a castle, but each of them had at least one major check against it. Either they were located unsettlingly close to rivers or to avalanche-prone hillsides, or they were so far out to make for an irritatingly long commute to town, or they had an enormous crack in their subterranean basement wall, etc. The other major problem with them all was that they were far enough away from town to not receive proper high speed internet access. All of them had the Net of Hughes, which everyone knows is just awful. In fact, if you check the Net of Hughes’ own site on the web of the whole wide world, they pretty much admit to sucking really really hard. How could the scribe watch his Netflix streaming on the Net of Hughes? How could the scribe play Little Big Planet with his Godson on the Net of Hughes? How could he cast his pod? He could not. And thus the scribe declared his desire to only purchase a castle that had proper high speed internet, preferably from the Link of Sudden.

Just when they thought they would have to settle for the castle with the crack in the basement and an experimental and untested MiFi card for internet, a new castle was located. This one was barely a mile from town, located on top of a hill in the back of a quiet neighborhood with gorgeous views of mountains and countryside and sunsets. There were two massive and gnarled, centuries-old oaks in front of it, casing atmospheric shadows over the property. And the land butted up against a stretch of land with a trail where dogs could be walked and exercise had. What was more, the castle was already equipped with the Link of Sudden. Glory be! The goodly wife and the scribe went immediately to see it and were astounded at what they found. The castle had been built around the same time as theirs in Borderland, so it had much the same feel, if not the same layout. It had loads of space for all their stuff, a nice kitchen, a very nice master bathroom, a huge basement and a heated and air-conditioned outbuilding that had once been used as a woodshop but could potentially be used as a scribing retreat, and an enormous walk in closet that could easily be transformed into a studio for his golden voice and the casting of pods. Granted, there wasn’t as much property as with the Borderland castle, but what it had was all useable, not terribly steep and had a front yard that was not a right bastard to mow. This was not to say there weren’t some issues to be seen, such as a 30 year roof on what looked to be its 25th year, some pretty hideous choices in wallpaper and some general updating to be done on the place. But none of the issues were of the deal-breaking variety. After all, it had the Link of Sudden. So, with no For Sale sign on their castle back home, the pair began negotiations on the new castle.

Meanwhile, back in Borderland, the goodly wife had been checking and double checking with Tuesday and the other middle managers as to the actual start date she could expect for her transfer to the Tri-Metro Immediate Healing Clinic. Tuesday, who was in charge of such scheduling, said that she wasn’t completely certain, yet, but that it looked like a mid-March/early April start date could be expected. It was reiterated by the goodly wife that such knowledge would be helpful to have as soon as possible, as she was about to sign on a new castle and would likely close on it within two months, possibly sooner.

After a week of back and forth negotiating on the price of the new castle, an acceptable amount for all was reached and papers were signed. The new castle was officially under contract. Inspections were soon begun and all came back glowing. If everything went to plan with the home loan, a closing date might even be reached between late February to late March. This looked like it was going to work out for all involved.

It was decided that before the castle in Borderland was to be placed on the market, it needed to get cleaned up but good. The place was awash in dog hair and cluttered with sundry crap. It was further decided that it would be financially beneficial to move a lot of that sundry crap to storage in Tri-Metro themselves rather than have movers do it. And it was during the boxing of said crap on one otherwise fine day that the goodly wife phoned from her workplace to inform the scribe that she had just learned something truly shocking. In an effort to seek an actual start date for her new position in Tri-Metro, she had used the magical telephony device at her place of work to contact the Grand King of all of the Places of Immediate Healing and inquired of him the start date that he had in mind. The Grand King had then responded, “I don’t know what you’ve been told, but there’s no position open in TRI-METRO.”

And at this point the scribe’s own jaw tagged him in the junk.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Once Upon a Time... (Part 1)

...there was a beautiful maiden who came to live in an ancient hovel in the malodorous kingdom of Skyline, Mississippi. This was an odd place for this particular maiden to be found, as she had grown up in the distant land of Alaska, but the tale of how she came to be in Mississippi, while a good one, is not today’s story. Let us suffice to say that the maiden was in Skyline due to its proximity to Tupelo where she was finishing up her undergraduate apprenticeship in the healing arts of medical technology. One of the maiden’s fellow apprentices happened to mention one day that a friend of her husband was about to relocate to the Tupelo area where he was to use his golden voice to earn a living as a town crier in the industry called the Casting of Broad, or radio. And because the job of town crier paid startlingly little money, he was in search of cheap lodging. Very cheap. The maiden, in turn, mentioned that her particular hovel was very cheap to live in and rather cozy if you could overlook the fact that it had no heating to speak of, was forever on the verge of collapse, and was probably held together by the sheer adhesive power of roach droppings within the walls. Furthermore, it had a set of rooms for rent.

Within days the scribe himself had not only come to Tupelo to see the rooms in question, but he had secured lodging within them for himself and his cat. And soon after this, the maiden met the scribe for the very first time. He was a handsome fellow and she noted that he did indeed have a golden voice. She even helped him move his belongings into his rooms within the hovel and the two became friends. Soon their friendship turned to adoration, though neither would admit it even to themselves. It was a dangerous thing to adore someone when you knew you would soon be parted. For, you see, the maiden was only living in Skyline temporarily and was to be called away to the distant land of the Carolina of the North after her undergraduate apprenticeship was concluded.

The day they parted was a sad one, but Carolina of the North beckoned. They cried tears, hugged and promised to keep in touch. It did not take long for them to begin calling one another. It took even less time to start missing one another. Within months they made plans for the scribe to come and see the maiden. And so their courtship began. And thus a hellish year and a half was spent courting from 600 miles apart. Eventually, the pull of their love drew them together and the scribe left Skyline and Tupelo behind to join his betrothed in the Carolina of the North where the two were wed and the maiden at last became his goodly wife. The scribe returned to being town crier, albeit in a much bigger town. He also took a job in a call-center for the Star of “On”, because town crier still paid for shit.

Though the goodly wife had previously taken work as a technologist of medicine, her true goal was to return to a school of the healing arts in an effort to become a skilled healer herself. Unfortunately, her applications to schools in the Carolina of the North were rejected for two years straight. It wasn’t until her third year of application that she was finally accepted—not in the Carolina of the North, but in the not-too-distant province of the Virginia of the West. Though it meant their lives would be upheaved once again, the two of them gathered their few possessions and their cat and made the journey to this new and mountainous land. They settled in a collection of three small villages that together made one decent sized village, which was dubbed Tri-Metro.

While the goodly wife began her studies, the scribe sought to employ himself as a town crier in his new town as well. Alas, there were no crier’s guild or casting of broad stations that could employ live criers. It was a canned town, as they say. His golden voice would have to rest. Instead, the scribe instead took work as an apprentice to the local knowledge-keepers guild—or, as Saint Carolla once described it, the place where they hide the books. There he did labor for three years before deciding that the stories about the people he encountered during the course of his labor were too good not to chronicle. And so the scribe set about to do this on a near daily basis, amassing a tremendous amount of the stories which he shared with other people through the use of the web of the whole wide world. Such online scribing was called “blogging” and his blog was called Tales from the Place Where They Hide the Books. Many people enjoyed his stories and told him so. Other people were assholes. But write the tales he did for five more years.The scribe and his goodly wife found that they loved the Tri-Metro area, and the Virginia of the West as a whole. They had not initially planned to remain there beyond her studies, but had long since decided that it was a beautiful place to live their lives. They made friends and colleagues in their area and began making plans to remain there forever.

At the end of their first seven years in Tri-Metro, the goodly wife had secured a degree in her studies and had completed three years of apprenticeship in the healing arts. And after a fiery trial at the hands of the high lords of healing, she was given the freedom to go into the world and practice the healing arts with no supervision as a full-fledged healer. However, when it came time to decide what to do, the major opportunity to practice her healing arts came not in Tri-Metro but in a not-too-distant township on the border of their province and that of an adjacent province. This “Borderland” was where she could best practice her art. And, according to the healing guildmaster’s recruiter there, wouldn’t even have to work that hard to do it. She’d have PLENTY of time to spend with her family, because the Place of Healing would never seek to overwork the shit out of their healers. Nosir. She wouldn’t be spending ALL of her time in the hospital. Don’t even think of it. Even after all of their assurances, the goodly wife warned her recruiter that she had no intention of spending all waking hours at the Place of Healing. Their promises sounded fine, but if they turned out not to be true she would have no problem walking. They said she had nothing to worry about.

Because the goodly wife’s art earned their household far more money than the scribe earned by working in the place where they hide the books, the scribe left the knowledge guild and ended Tales from the Place Where They Hide the Books. Oh, he tried to continue chronicling his life in this new Land on the Border, but mostly this involved talking about the repairs they were doing to their new castle and complaining about people parking like assholes at the Mart of Wals. Over the coming months, he missed his days at the place where they hide the books, and the plentiful nature of his scribing life back then. He missed his friends and colleagues and the creative opportunities Tri-Metro offered.

The goodly wife (Dr. Goodly Wife) labored for the Place of Healing for two years. During that time, her knowledge base expanded quite a bit, especially when it came to recognizing members of the species of shape-shifting phalluses that ran the place. (They had only one eye, but often two faces.) She also learned much of the arcane language of contracts, which can seem to mean one thing, but be interpreted to mean something different. (For instance, the contract wording which, on the surface, promised a healthy annual student loan repayment bonus, but, upon clarification by the shape-shifting phalluses, actually meant that while they did have to pay her this bonus, they could then charge the cost of the bonus back to the goodly wife’s clinic and thus charge her own bonus back to her. Nice. What a bunch of dicks.) Furthermore, all of the recruiter’s promises of few late hours turned out to be as solid as the shit of a horse, for the Place of Healing and the shifty phalluses that ran it kept coming up with new and inventive ways to keep the goodly wife within their clutches as much as possible. They even added call to the existing arseload of call she was already saddled with. So at the end of her first two years, the Dr. Wife kept her promise, said "F*ck all ya'll" and left (after her contractual 90 days notice, of course, and just after the second annual student loan repayment bonus had been delivered—“Charge that one back to me, you f*ckers! I don’t work here anymore!”).

The other major reason that the goodly wife had departed the employment of the phalluses, is that she had found a new place to practice the healing arts. A friend of the goodly wife’s from her time of study had alerted her to this new place of healing—a place designed to see people in immediate need of healing with little to no patient followup required, not to mention NO CALL TIME WHATSOEVER. The friend herself worked for a similar Immediate Healing Clinic two towns over, but was soon going to depart her own clinic in favor of a third Immediate Healing Clinic that was being readied back in Tri-Metro. The Borderland Immediate Healing Clinic was a Godsend. And while its shifts were not short ones, it required only 14 of them per month. The goodly wife would finally be able to help those in immediate need and send them on their way with none of the usual hassle. It was pretty ideal.

Secretly, though, the scribe hoped that at some point in the not too distant future a position would open at the Tri-Metro Immediate Healing Clinic that the goodly wife could transfer into. He longed to return to his beloved township.